The New York City Fire Department took delivery of its newest fireboat, the Three Forty Three, on 26 May. Funded largely by federal homeland-security grant dollars, the boat is named in honor of the 343 New York City firefighters killed in the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. The Three Forty Three is one of the most advanced fireboats ever to see service, and like the amphibious assault ship USS New York (LPD-21), the Three Forty Three's 140-foot hull contains steel salvaged from the remains of the Twin Towers. With a top speed of 18 knots, the 500-ton firefighting vessel is twice as fast as her predecessors. Able to pump 50,000 gallons of water per minute, the city's newest fireboat has a complement of seven crew members who, through the use of advanced sensors, are able detect chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents, and are protected against these hazards through the use of pressurization and filtration systems that supply oxygen using special charcoal and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
By Eric Wertheim